Once people step foot on a cruise line, they really let their hair down. The prices of alcohol on a cruise ship may be similar to what you would pay at any regular pub, but some cruise lines charge up to $10 for a simple glass of wine.
If you want to save a few extra bucks, the temptation to sneak alcohol on a cruise is very real.
Although smuggling alcohol and even some non-alcoholic beverages onto a cruise ship is strictly prohibited, many people have done it and thought of creative ways to get their favorite alcoholic beverages on cruise lines.
You may be wondering what would happen if you get caught sneaking alcohol onto a cruise ship, so we will discuss the implications below.
10 Ways to Sneak Alcohol on Cruise Ships
1. Shampoo Bottles
Despite the fact that using shampoo bottles to store alcohol for a cruise sounds like an appealing concept, there are several downsides to doing so.
The first is that shampoo bottles are particularly hard to clean, which means that you will never be able to eliminate all of the shampoo residues from them. This will consequently result in a nasty-tasting beverage.
It is not advisable to utilize shampoo and conditioner bottles to conceal alcohol due to the fact that they are not watertight. In my bag, a bottle of shower gel exploded once, and it was a horrible ordeal. Imagine the same scenario but with red wine. No thanks!
There are bottle flasks available on Amazon that are specifically designed to hold alcohol. Many of these bottles contain up to six factory seals, so the smell of alcohol is concealed even if a security guard opens the bottle.
2. Tampon Flasks
Tampon flasks are arguably the most foolproof method of bringing alcoholic beverages on a cruise ship. Tampon flasks are re-sealable fake wrappers for tampons that consist of mini refillable flasks.
No one would bother to rummage through your luggage if you’ve left it open, but even if they did, they wouldn’t dare open a tampon to check inside.
These tampons have a slight drawback in that they hold only 30ml, about the amount of a single drink. You would need a lot of them to sustain you for a week-long voyage!
This product might be better for sneaking booze into concerts or short events than for a week-long cruise.
3. Rum Runners
Rum runners are also referred to as plastic flasks or alcohol bags and are specifically designed to contain alcohol on a cruise. Countless cruisers have reported their success in sneaking alcohol onto a cruise using a rum runner.
You can get your own rum runner on sites like Amazon. A rum runner is basically a reusable plastic bag containing a little funnel. Each rum runner can hold up to one liter of alcohol.
The best part of a rum runner is that an x-ray doesn’t detect that there is alcohol in your bag because there isn’t a bottle.
However, if someone manually checks your bag for whatever reason, they’ll no doubt find your little alcohol bag.
4. A Mouthwash Bottle
Mouthwash bottles have been a very popular and well-known way to hide alcohol for many years. Some brands, such as Listerine, are available in large mouthwash bottles of up to one liter.
Mouthwash bottles present a great way of sneaking alcohol that is clear, like vodka or gin, as it looks like mouthwash. Be aware, though, that the security guard will know something is up if they open it to smell what’s inside.
5. Binocular Flasks
Some of the clever contraptions made to sneak booze in for your cruise vacation are nothing short of genius. A binocular flask will most likely go undetected even if your bags are manually searched.
The two sides of the binoculars can carry up to 230ml of alcohol, and the product includes a tiny funnel, so you don’t spill. The best part is that the two sides are not connected, allowing you to sneak two different kinds of your own alcohol on a cruise.
6. Wine Bottles
Wine bottles are probably the most widely used way to sneak alcohol onto a cruise. Most cruise lines allow you to take one bottle of wine with you on the ship, provided you are of the permitted drinking age.
Many people take advantage of this allowance by putting one bottle of wine in their checked luggage while hiding another in their carry-on luggage.
Because your carry-on bag and your checked luggage are checked by different staff at different times, it is virtually impossible to incriminate you with taking more than the permitted amount.
On a cruise ship, you can take as much luggage as you like, so there will be plenty of room to bring your alcohol on a cruise.
Just be sure the bottles won’t break in your bags, as this would be disastrous.
7. The Beer Belly
When you go on a cruise ship, you may wish to use the ‘beer belly canteen’ to hide alcohol. This container is made of polyurethane and looks just like a beer belly, and can hold up to 2.3 liters of booze when worn beneath clothing.
This clever little booze container holds the equivalent of three bottles of wine, but you will have to forego looking dashing in your departure pictures if you wear one!
8. Wine Rack Bra
A wine rack bra is the equivalent of a fake beer belly, but it is ideal for women and can actually enhance your appearance. A wine rack bra is essentially a removable polyurethane bladder fitted for a bra. If you pass through the x-ray machine with your watch on and are required to undergo a pat-down, a portable flask will be easily detected.
Because port workers won’t know whether you’re carrying alcohol or a more dangerous substance, you will probably be arousing suspicion and get into some trouble.
9. Wine Handbag
This beach tote, coined a PortoVino, contains a well-sealed compartment that can hold up to two bottles of wine.
This fashionable handbag has a hidden zipper that opens up a pouch where your wine will be kept nice and cool for hours.
Though it may be clever, it probably isn’t the best way to bring alcohol on your cruise, as many cruise lines will detect the solid bottle on their scanners.
Although you can’t necessarily smuggle alcohol on a cruise using this handbag, it’s still a wonderful way to enjoy your drink by the pool because most cruise lines only allow you to drink your own wine in your room and not in public spaces.
10. Umbrella Flasks
Save yourself the trouble of having to carry around an entire bottle of your favorite drink on your cruise. This convenient umbrella flask holds 255 ml and is simple to pour out into your glass.
The BoozeBrella is an umbrella-shaped flask with bubble wrap inside to make it feel like a soft umbrella instead of a hard bottle.
It is unlikely that a hidden container of this type would be found on Northern European cruises, where it rained so much.
What Happens When You Get Caught Sneaking Alcohol On A Cruise Ship
Different cruise lines have different alcohol policies. There are various different accounts of what exactly happens when people get caught trying to sneaking alcohol on a cruise. Most often, the staff has the alcoholic beverages seized and either return them to those guilty of smuggling alcohol at the end of the cruise or simply pours it out.
The good news is that there are absolutely no reports of people getting kicked off a cruise line just for trying to sneak alcohol on a cruise. Although it may still be a possibility, there are certainly no accounts of such instances in any existing research, but cruise lines reserve the right to ban cruisers from boarding the ship if they find containers holding alcohol in their luggage. The chances are cruisers that are under the legal drinking age will suffer more significant consequences than those trying to get some champagne onboard.
A report from a cruiser on the Royal Caribbean Cruise stated that their alcohol was confiscated when they tried smuggling booze on board, but they got every last drop back when the cruise ended.
Is Sneaking Alcohol On Cruise Lines Worth The Risk?
It is certainly true that trying to bring alcohol on board a cruise ship is prevalent. At the same time, security personnel is aware of the techniques people use to hide booze in their luggage, and they are continuously improving at detecting it.
Even if they’ve seen it all before, many people are still able to sneak in a drink to save money, thanks to the sheer volume of people being screened as quickly as possible.
It’s important to remember that if you intend to consume a lot, it will be difficult to bring large quantities of alcohol on board. The more volume you attempt to bring, the bigger the odds that the staff will detect it.
Keep in mind that if you’re planning to let loose and have a lot to drink, it would be hard to sneak enough alcohol onboard the cruise line to last the entire trip.
If you’re the type of person to get stressed out when you are breaking the rules, sneaking alcohol on a cruise may not be worth your while. Don’t jeopardize your relaxing cruise vacation by worrying about getting caught.
Sneaking Alcohol On a Cruise Line FAQ
What is the best way to conceal your alcohol in checked luggage?
The most successful way to conceal your alcohol in your checked luggage is with a rum runner. A rum runner is a flat bottle that doesn’t look like a bottle on an x-ray. Note that the staff has the right to disembark you if they catch you sneaking alcohol onto the ship.
Can I sneak alcohol onto a Royal Caribbean Cruise?
Royal Caribbean allows cruisers to bring along one bottle of wine. Although you’re not permitted to bring any more than one bottle, many cruisers hide their alcohol in rum runners or creatively disguised flasks to get around security.
Do all cruise lines search your luggage?
Most cruise ships check cruisers’ luggage with an x-ray and only manually search a bag if there is reason to be suspicious. They also open bottles to smell what’s inside, so your soda bottles may not pass security. You might get away with a sealed water bottle, however.
Are you allowed to bring Listerine on a cruise ship?
You are certainly allowed to pack your Listerine mouthwash with you on a cruise ship. Just be aware that the security crew may open the bottle if it is a large mouthwash bottle to check that you’re not trying to sneak alcohol onboard.
Is it possible to sneak booze onto a cruise ship in a sealed water bottle?
Yes! It is, in fact, possible to fill sealed water bottles with your own drinks. The first step is to cut off the neck of the water bottle.
Next, place the bottle in boiling hot water until it feels soft, and pull the intact bottle cap with its ring off.
Take a second bottle and cut the ring off. Fill the bottle with your own spirits and screw the intact cap back on the bottle.
This way, the bottles appear to be completely sealed. This is a great way to conceal alcoholic items and smuggle booze onto your cruise, but it does take a bit of effort.
Can security detect rum runners?
Rum runners may not raise an alert immediately when it appears on an x-ray. As there are so many people to check in a short time, the security staff may not be too focused on searching a bag if no bottle showed up on the x-ray. If your rum runner is detected, the staff may confiscate your alcohol and, in the worse case, refuse you to board.